Social networks like Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest get lavished with deserved attention, but apps from the leading mobile categories should not be overlooked by anyone wanting to engage or advertise to mobile users. The average news app performs especially well, earning as much monthly time-in-app as Twitter, and (distant) second to only Facebook.
In this study, Localytics looks beyond the types of apps downloaded or total time in various categories and focuses on the metric that matters most to app publishers — a time-spent benchmark for average apps in their category. Localytics provides customers category-specific benchmarks in its Audience Measurement reports launched last month. To smooth out monthly variations, this report averages the benchmarks for worldwide usage from January through May 2012.
In May, comScore reported the monthly time spent in the top social media apps on mobile devices. The combined mobile app and mobile web measurements showed Facebook greatly leading with 441 average minutes per “visitor”. Twitter was second with a combined 114 minutes, followed by Tumblr, Pinterest and LinkedIn. comScore only provided combined app and mobile web breakdowns for Facebook and Twitter, with 82% and 97% of usage coming from apps, respectively. Likewise, Nielsen reported in May that mobile users spent 81% of their time in apps and 19% on the mobile web.
Even with the bundling of mobile app and web times together, Localytics found that the average news app showed strong engagement with 115 average minutes per user, slightly edging out Twitter. Entertainment, health & fitness, sports and music apps also perform well with more than 70 average minutes per user, meeting or exceeding both Pinterest and Tumblr.
In addition to social network apps, games are often highlighted as the largest mobile app category. But while games perform very well in aggregate, and are the largest category in the raw number of apps, average app performance lags the others with just 49 average minutes per app. Therefore, advertisers wanting properties that have a more developed relationship with their audience should strongly consider news, entertainment, health, sports and music apps.
The performance of apps across all categories, on over 300 million smartphones and tablets, are analyzed and weighted each month to compute category-specific benchmarks that are included with Localytics’ monthly Audience Reports. The category benchmarks are segmented by US, North America or worldwide usage to best fit the distribution of apps in the custom report. Benchmarks are provided for sessions, total time, new user growth and other key engagement metrics for iPhone, iPad, Android, HTML5, BlackBerry and Windows Phone apps.